Copyright 2016 Frome Area Christians Together unless indicated otherwise
'We are called to be a 'one another' people and to build a 'one another' community'
How can we reflect this in our community?
Here’s the story: I’ve started typing late. I intended to keep this short, but got thoroughly carried away. I distinctly hope this message ministers to you wherever you are, whatever situation you are in. And hopefully, through these messages, you are inspired to live uniquely for the God of all the universe!
As many of you have probably realised, while I’m definitely passionate about working with young people, I’m also passionate about connecting with people for whom the typical or traditional church structure just simply doesn’t fit. This is often termed as evangelism, mission or outreach. While those terms aren’t entirely inaccurate and I use them all pretty regularly, there’s a part of me that feels that we’re using them in the wrong way. I’ll try to unpack why.
“Mission” is a brilliant word. It points us to a feeling of purpose and action. There’s no room for armchair Christianity when mission is happening! As I understand it, that’s why the Roman Catholic church call their Sunday services “Mass” (from Latin: “mission of God” or “sending of God”). The only thing about it is that some people say they feel sent, while others don’t. (I’ll come back to that later)
I once heard an American pastor say that he carries a small lead fishing weight in his pocket. Whenever there’s a question of whether or not God is leading him to do something for someone, he sticks his hands in his pockets and inevitably finds the fishing weight. Then he knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that he felt lead (I’ll explain: Fishing weights are lead, it’s a play on the 2 different uses of the word lead).
“Outreach” is ok. I’ve been a part of a number of outreach projects and they’ve been a blast! The only thing is that there’s a subtle message that’s being conveyed to both the outreach-ers and the outreach-ees. It makes it seem like some are on the inside and others are on the outside. It’s kind of alienating people without even realising it.
As for “evangelism”, it comes from the Greek word euangelion, which means Gospel or Good News. I Totally LOVE the Good News of future Hope and Life that God brought us through Jesus. The thing is that we feel that we can switch evangelism on and off, depending on whether we are in the mood. It also ends up turning people into “isms”, or into a project. It subtly dehumanizes them. Sounds similar to the “outreach” description.
Surely we could do better!
That’s where another phrase enters: The Kingdom of God. It may be hard to see how the Kingdom of God directly connects with the terms mission, outreach or evangelism, but in my mind, it is far more appropriate for what is happening when pursuing mission, taking part in outreach or working on evangelizing a group of people. Why do I say this? Because this is what we ALL signed up for when we made a commitment to live to follow our Messiah! We immediately became citizens of the kingdom of God, living each moment under His rule and reign. We live by a unique set of rules where the sad are comforted, the meek are celebrated and the hungry are filled! These are just a few basic rules that kingdom citizens live by.
How do we know what to do? Spend time with God! It’s easier to know how to keep these rules if you KNOW the purpose behind them, to know why the rules are written the way they are, to know the mind and heart of the writer of this message! He’s the maker of these backwards rules, so surely it makes sense to hang out with Him! Suffice to say: When you’re comfortable with Him, the other parts come naturally.
When we say we’re going out to live missionally, to outreach to people or to evangelise others, what we’re really saying is that we’re stepping out with God, living as Kingdom citizens, moving into areas where His Kingdom needs to become evident, and introducing these kingdom principles to whoever we see in our day. As Christians, we live as Kingdom Citizens. Let’s do our best to act like it!
I want to introduce you to a new song by Hillsong United called Shadow Step. This song speaks about staying in step with the ongoing mission of God in the world. We’re asking Him to illuminate His heart for Creation, to keep us moving with His hand. It’s a promise to remain ever listening for Him to speak, to keep our eyes open and expectant of things only possible with God. We also promise to fix our heart to His, to stay close and instep with Him as He continues to move in power throughout humanity. And it finishes with an invitation, requesting that God moves again so that we can see yet another revelation of His extravagant love for us! It breaks me down to tears just thinking about it!
Without further ado, here’s the link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fQfVKWRD6M
I know I referred to this Bible verse fairly recently, but I just can’t get it out of my head. Take some time this week to really truly reflect on the depths of it’s meaning.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Well, Here’s the thing. Last week, I thought I was supposed to go to Selwood Academy, but actually was supposed to go to Frome College… OOPS!! Totally confused my weeks!
SO, THIS week, I’ll be at Selwood Academy. Please pray for these kids. They’ve come to know me from a distance and are comfortable talking through things with me in person.
•That God would move in each of their lives. That His truth would break into the hurts or frustrations that they may be dealing with. That healing and renewal would be evident in each of them!
•Pray for the Christian Union! That the kids would come to know the Living God in these times and would take Him on as their own.
•Pray for me and my leadership. I am weak, but God is strong! Thank God!
Town Missions Work
LIVE LOUNGE @ Costa: We’ve made the decision to postpone Live Lounge until March, giving us ample time to connect better with communities inside and outside of churches in Frome. It also gives us enough time to market, plan and develop an event team.
We’re also holding off through February because Adrian, one of the facilitators for Live Lounge, is having an operation and will be out of commission for a short while.
This is a huge opportunity for us to establish distinct kingdom principles in the centre of town within the context of the local community. If you would like to be a part of this ministry and feel that you may have something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that you could help with, please get in touch with me!
•For us to absolutely stay in step with God on this. We’ve felt lead to start it. Pray that we are lead in the wisest way forward, continuing to stay connected with God throughout the planning of it!
•For the establishing of an event team that can help with preliminary planning, marketing, praying, setting up and overall logistics.
•For continued provision of funding for this project. No matter how much we want it to be completely free to put these events on, they’re not.
Church Youth Work
We’re back in the swing of things with Trinity’s Youth Group! This will be our second sunday of the year! We’ve started a short series on Parables, connecting them straight back to what they mean for us in our daily lives! We’ve also started doing dinner meals semi-regularly with the kids. It creates a sense of community and keeps us from bouncing off the walls after too many sweets!
•For continued wisdom in leading the group of kids that we have, as well as wisdom in how to proceed with the youth group at this particular moment.
•Pray for each of us leaders as we all have something we’re working through in each of our own lives. Pray that God would stay close and give us space to be the fun, engaging, creative youth leaders that these kids really truly need!
•That God builds His Kingdom in the hearts of these kids. That they begin developing habits of listening for Him. That they would make commitments to live for Him!
- Holy Trinity Church in Frome (Sunday Cafe)
- Frome Area Christians Together (FACT)
A photograph taken by Christian photographer Reggie Haslett - Copyright 2013
Download the "one another" verses booklet by clicking on this link button
Food produce, church harvest festivals and Fair Frome
FACT has circulated all the churches encouraging them to direct (non perishable!) produce gifts towards Fair Frome, our local "food bank". Teams work in the storage unit sorting and packing food three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and it would be fantastic if the food can be delivered on these days. However, collection can be arranged if it is difficult to organise deliveries. Either way it would be very helpful for them to know in advance when deliveries are likely if at all possible.
The Food Bank would be happy to receive donations of food - there is currently a need for:
Tinned Snacks, (eg ravioli/spag bol/ beans & sausages)
Pasta Snacks, Rice Snacks, Pot Noodles,
Long life milk.
Please see a poster for more details and a list of the items Fair Frome is regularly in need of, by clicking on the grey button to the right.
Please click on this link button to read or download a letter to the church as a whole from Rev Simon Ponsonby
Christian Comment - 28th December 2017
Over the week end we will be celebrating the New Year, as it seems to offer a fresh start and the hope of better things to come. That may be optimistic, but there is nothing wrong optimism if it based on a sure foundation. Christmas assures us that there is such a foundation.
Recognising that we live in uncertain times, my thoughts go back to the beginning of WW2 and Christmas 1939. Those first months of the war had been relatively quiet, but that could not last much longer. It was in that context that King George VI encouraged the nation to trust in God, as he ended his Christmas radio broadcast quoting a little known poem:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
Those words are part of a poem by Minnie Haskins which she called “God knows”. And they became very relevant on two critical occasions in 1940, each of which led the King to call the nation to prayer. Churches across the country were filled. Within days the tide of battle turned and we survived and in the end Europe was liberated.
Today this poem remains relevant for us, both as individuals and together as a community. But in this coming year, 2018, will we continue to insist that we know best and are free to live as we please and imagine that, on our own, we can resolve not only our own dilemmas but those of the wider world? Or will we take note of the Christmas story, and recognise that God has sent his Son, Jesus, to be one of us so that we might know for certain that he does care. Jesus expressed that dep concern, when he invited all who were heavy laden to come to him, promising that he would give them rest.
As we ponder these thoughts, let us resolve to follow the advice of the man who stood at the gate of the year and go out into the darkness and put our hand into the Hand of God. Those words form a beautiful picture, but Christmas assures us that they are sound advice. For the child born in Bethlehem is the Light of the World, and when we put our hand in his, he will lead us in safety, despite the storms that may rage around us, and enable us to make a difference.
Reader, Beckington Group of Churches